Courtney Eldridge

Street Cred

Since beginning, I’ve been thinking about their lives, their relationships, this creative bond that Thea and Melody Knox share. I mean, the whole idea of these girls being twins in some way really interests me. And I’ve always imagined their world, the images they create together, whether in their notebook, their photo shoots, as being highly stylized. Also, very sexy, and very sweet, but always a little ominous . . . I’ve seen and imagined bits and pieces, here and there, all over. I imagine their influences range from French films to Joan Jett to The Jetsons, you name it. I’ve had so many ideas, but nothing concrete, really, for better or worse, and certainly not an entire collaboration of the subject.

And then, a few weeks ago, I saw one of Aeschleah’s photo, this series she’d just shot, using two models who looked almost identical. If not twins, they were clearly sisters, related, blood. That was it, exactly. Because this series, 77 Hudson Street, a title taken directly from Aeschleah’s photo, is going to take the story, the book to its conclusion, the cliff hanger scene. I’ve always known the final scene of the book comes down to these two girls, the night of their sixteenth birthday. And I needed something equally dramatic, as a starting point for those events, but softer. Like real girls, only the nth degree of girlhood.

It’s a lot to think about, which is why it’s taken this long. I mean, I have all these characters. How would they all come together? I think I found the entry point in Aeschleah’s work, I really do.

The fun, of course, of working with different artists every week is that the work is always different. Aeschleah’s work is exceptional, of course, but no exception in that sense. Because her photography is clearly rooted in fashion photography, but it’s very conceptual, too. What I mean by that, the real concept of Aeschleah’s fashion photography, as I see it, at least, is to find the genuine emotion within each image. That’s her reinvention of the conceptual fashion photography wheel: honesty. These two girls, twins, maybe, sisters, definitely, but what’s extraordinary, for me, is that the photographer never loses sight of their eyes.

That’s what I love about Aeschleah’s photography, that she’s challenging doe in the headlight fashion quality in such a human, genuine way. She knows that all girls want to act, to play different roles, live different lives. They’re real, however imaginary, however put on. They’re sharing something, revealing something, reaching.

So, at long last, I think I’ve found a way out of the maze—in fashion photography, of all things—who’d have thunk it, right? Very special thanks to Aeschleah for trusting me with her work, for her sweetness and energy and, once again, bringing something so real and so unique and so completely unexpected to this project.


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